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IMG_6886I’ve been dreaming about a gluten-free and vegan Thanksgiving dinner for the blog.  Not that I truly follow either diet totally (thought I eat vegan quite a bit for health reasons); I simply want the challenge.   Either direction is simpler than both together, as anyone who’s tried to make both vegan and gluten-free bread will tell you.  While I’ve got several recipes in-process, I thought it might be fun to have more than one entree or main dish. As it was Dinner on the Grounds at First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs — the time when we celebrate our congregation’s giving and commitments — I made this quick brown rice and broccoli dish for the meal.  While it might feel like a salad, and perhaps it technically is, I think it’s hefty enough to fill you up for days and feels more like a casserole!  This recipe makes a big bowlful and is enough for 12 side servings or maybe 8 as a main dish.  Even if you don’t eat gluten free or vegan, you’ll like this healthy and tasty dish.  I was very sad to see there was none left to take home.

how you might change it up……

I used currants in the dish, but feel free to substitute dried cranberries for a more festive Thanksgiving table. Raisins or chopped figs or dates would be fine, too; I just like the tiny sweetness of the currants myself.  There’s no garlic, though you might add some –no more than a single finely minced single clove unless you cook it with the rice. Minced celery could be an addition to increase the crunch factor. Walnuts or pecans could replace the sliced almonds; toast them in a dry skillet over low flame for 6 or 7 minutes.  Could you use white rice?  Sure; brown rice has more protein, though, which is a big consideration for a vegan dish. Wild rice would be glorious, I’d think. Carnivores:  Throw in a couple of cups chopped chicken or leftover turkey.

This morning I’m cooking a big pot of beef-vegetable soup for Inter-Faith Hospitality Network (IHN), which is a group of local churches that houses and feeds homeless families, as well as helps them find jobs and permanent homes.  I’ve been cooking these meals for many years now and not much feels better when you love to be in the kitchen like I do. Dave will go with me and we’re working with the folks from Temple Shalom. This time we have a companion dog, too; I get to bring dog treats!

Try this:

CURRIED BROCCOLI-ALMOND BROWN RICE SALAD

12 side servings  or  6-8 main dish servings

  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil –can sub canola oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 10 scallions, minced – white and green parts
  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds cooked broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for garnish
  • Red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup dried black currants or 1/2 cup dried cranberries, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt

In a medium pot, heat water to boiling; add rice with a drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper.  Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until tender.  While still hot, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the cooked broccoli, and almonds. Stir well and drizzle with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.

Stir in currants, curry powder (start with 1/2 teaspoon, adding more to taste), crushed red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix well. Taste and readjust seasonings, including curry powder.  Add an extra drizzle or two of vinegar and/or oil to moisten and season if needed. You might also want to add more  almonds or currants to taste; I liked the dish garnished with extra for looks and flavor.

Serve immediately at room temperature.  You can also cover the dish well, refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature, and serve the next day.  If the rice seems dry, moisten using a tablespoon or two of olive oil and stir well.

{printable recipe}

(Below:  Rosie and Tucker taking a nap while I made the beef stock this morning and granddaughter Piper doing a little dance to her own beat.)

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Piper dancing to her own beat!󾌬

Sing a new song,

Alyce